LAS CRUCES (AP) - The ex-mayor of the troubled border town of Sunland Park charged taxpayers more than $4,600 for three road trips in his final months in office, including a visit to Washington, D.C., where he missed his appointment with New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce.
The Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/H7a2YN ) reports that former Mayor Martin Resendiz said he got lost in the city and missed his Dec. 1 appointment with Pearce.
"It (Washington) is a big place," Resendiz said last week, adding that he felt "horrible" about standing up the congressman. "It was very much a learning experience."
Resendiz said he went to Washington to drum up support for Sunland Park's longstanding effort to open a new border crossing to Mexico.
Though he was seeking to generate congressional support for the project, Resendiz said he did not schedule meetings with any other members of the state's delegation. Of that visit, Resendiz initially told the Journal: "We met with the staff for Pearce."
A day later, Pearce's spokeswoman said Resendiz had missed not only the scheduled appointment with Pearce, but a subsequent, unscheduled meeting with a staffer that was attended by Resendiz's assistant, who had been fired the previous summer and had no official standing with the city of Sunland Park.
Resendiz said he missed that brief meeting with the Pearce staffer because he had left in a fruitless attempt to set up a meeting with Texas Rep. Silvestre Reyes, a Democrat from El Paso.
Asked if the trip to see Pearce was a waste of taxpayer money, Resendiz replied: "It could have been a lot more efficient."
The newspaper reports the former mayor, who was largely absent from City Hall in his final months after acknowledging signing several contracts while drunk, also charged taxpayers for two road trips to Dallas.
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